Group decries scarcity of water in Lagos
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has expressed concerns over water scarcity in Lagos communities and cautioned that if the situation is not urgently addressed, residents may become susceptible to water-borne diseases.
It said failure to fix the dilapidated waterworks in the state and provide potable water for Lagos people would hamper efforts at combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAPPA raised the alarm following a radio interview by the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) Group Managing Director, Badmus Muminu, on Traffic FM 96.1, where he attributed water shortage in Lagos to consumers allegedly breaking water pipes.
The interview was aired to coincide with the second anniversary of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration.
In the last three months, Lagos residents have been lamenting the water shortage and poor performance of the waterworks in the state. In April and May, the Adiyan and Iju waterworks did not produce up to 10 per cent of their installed capacities.
CAPPA investigations revealed that power outage in the Adiyan waterworks was caused by a faulty feeder line, which had limited the plant to one raw water pump. At Iju, the silt and sludge treatment plant require maintenance, which has not been carried out.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Director of Programmes at CAPPA, Philip Jakpor, described Muminu’s allegation against Lagos residents as untrue, adding that fact-finding visits to waterworks across the state showed the state government’s abdication of responsibility.
Executive Director of CAPPA, Oluwafemi Akinbode, said: “It is disheartening and disturbing that rather than blame the acute water shortage in Lagos on misplaced priority by the Lagos State government, Muminu, who should know better, blames it on the victims. It is double jeopardy.”
Akinbode pointed out that the state government is yet to acknowledge and act on two reports that CAPPA presented to it. The reports were entitled ‘How Acute Water Shortage May Jeopardise Fight Against COVID-19,’ published in 2020 and ‘Nearly One Year After, Water Shortages Still Persist in Lagos,’ published in March 2021.
“Both reports showed the deplorable state of all the waterworks in the state that have been overtaken by weeds and turned to ad-hoc car parks.”
Akinbode said lack of public water, particularly in poor communities, was already creating apprehension among Lagos residents, who fear that in their struggle to look for water for domestic and daily use, they might be susceptible to contracting the coronavirus.
On the way forward, he said it was time for the government to shift attention from the much-discredited public-private partnership (PPP) and other privatisation arrangements proposed by the World Bank and other international financial institutions in addressing the Lagos water crisis.
“Two years into Sanwo-Olu-led administration, we urge him to present a blueprint on how he is going to resolve the state’s water crisis. Instead of shirking its responsibility, the Lagos government should consult and involve citizens in ensuring that public waterworks in Lagos. Further delay will only set a chain of negative impacts that no one desires,” he added.